Azar Nafisi


The author of Reading Lolita in Tehran shares some uncommonly good reading.



Azar NafisiThe lights of Lolita, The Great Gatsby, and Pride and Prejudice shone more brightly than ever in the pages of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi's bestselling 2003 memoir of teaching literature in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her book Things I've Been Silent About, explores her relationship with her parents. Here she shares a trio of treasured volumes.


Books by Azar Nafisi








By Jane Austen


"Persuasion is about choice, and the moral and social dilemmas it brings in its tow. It is quietly magical, much like its heroine Anne Elliott. I love the undercurrent of sensuality created by the tension in the air every time Anne Elliott is in the same room with Captain Wentworth: a hint of unspoken longings and passionate urges, regret for the lost opportunities and hope for the future prospects."







The Age of Innocence

By Edith Wharton


"So refreshing to read and re-read a novel that proves the truth of Ezra Pound's claim about literature being news that stays news. We can read this book and not be ashamed of using words such as ambiguity, complexity, morality and beauty."








Uncommon Reader

By Alan Bennett


"In this politicized and polarized world, it is good to read the story of a queen who takes to reading books and abdicates her throne in order to write. What possibly more can we expect from such a wise queen?"


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.